Andropov's Politicalostplenum Assessment
CIA HISTORICAL REVIEW FROGPi RELEASEAS SAN.TiZsT
Andropov's Politicalostplenum Assessment (u)
Andropov's Political'os( plenum Ancnrout'
Andropov emerged from ihe June party plenum and Supreme Soviet session with hit pen authority and political prcsilgcconsiderably enhanced. Hit assumption of the presidency completed bit acquiiiiion of the powerfulof (be party, rule, and defensebis predecssssor bad established over (be yean. References lo Andropov as "head" of (be Politburo in the nominating speech of his putative rival. (Constat! tin Cbcrncnko. andoilplcnum party decree providedevidence of his preeminence
changes made at Iheaddition of Grigoriy Romanov to the Secretariat, the appointment of Mikhail Solomentscv as bead of the Party Conirol Commit lee, and the promotion of Vitalty Voroialfcov toeandidaie membership In thestrengthened Andropov's political position. These ahslls isolated. Cbcrncnko in ihc Socrciariat andresumed Andropov client (Vorrxnikov) into the leadership. Andropov'a Increased authority also was suggested by the removal from ihe Central Committee of two former Brezhnev associates who fell victim to Andropov'i anticorruption campaign. ,
Despite these successes, it is not yet clear whether Andiopov can translatehis authority into effective political power. Mil failure to promote anyone to full membership in the Politburo or to remove any reputed adversaries suggests tbat the balance of power in that body has not been significantly altered. The PoIilbufO. while smaller in numbers, rcmamf much (he same as under flrezhncv. Only two of theullMinister Ustinov and Foreign Ministerbeen Consistently cited by various middle-level Soviet official* as Andropov supporter! He probably can also count on ihe support of Romanov, who is indr.bia!im. and Mikhail Gorbachev, with whom he has been cultivating an alliance. The other Politburo members arc most often described by Soviet sources as politically uncommitted or opposed to Andropov. Thu gap between
Andropov's lack of strong support would not pievent him from assuming the presidency, but had forcedeneralo back down from planned policy initiatives.
l r.v'ierch gave credibility lo thii report, iuf go ling that be was moving wiih great caution ind deliberation. No new program* or significant policy departures were announced, and the speech was couched in broad philosophical lermi. Andropov's docision to focus attention on reviilna the party program, however, could help legiiimite desired policyand allow him to set future policy agendas
If the reports about Andropov's support arc accurate, his efforts to make any importantat those some of his backers would like to toe in the economicbe running into tome difficulty.olid majority commitied lo him in the Pollibuio. Andropov, despite bis recent gains, mutt deal with fluid political coalitions whose members are in no sense clients and whose luppcrt for specific policy initiatives must be earned
Andropov's) and uncertain health further complicate the situation and auggest that Ihc acttingolicy agenda cannot be delayed indefinitely. If hia health docs not worsen dramatically, wc would capect Andropov to gain greater control over both policy and personnel decision* over the neat year ur so. bringing into ihe leadership individuals who will follow hia lead. If his condition deteriorates, however, particularly if long rest periods away from work ai* required. Andropov's efforts to furtber consolidate political support would probably be stymied Moreover, the politico! maneuvers involving younger leaders, particularly Gorbachev and Romanov, suggest lhat succexiionive issue wiihin ihc Soviel elite
oliticalost plenum Assessment
to the Flevan
Andropov"itbaoininbl' political momentum, lo Uic March.iaiaic grutitk o. whof Andropov'* airoaa estas appointed First Deputyndropov'*position in Ike Council ofhii followed in April by (he replace-ment ofrcrhncv appointee, bya head of (he CentralOiganirationil Party Wort Department, wbich over-socs
la the months preceding the
rsnoropov lojami* and former luoeielci hid been iniistiof thai he would eapllaliic on hii impiored poeitlon by puililne thruuih major penonncl ihlfla at Ihe plenum
J Theyiotvc di lappa at meat thai Andropov had
movedicl> oa thii malic, climi.ni (hat
Kiurnt chaatoirerequisite for aay lianifl-ii' change in the economic mcchaniim Thcxprobablyfueled by theiropes
depletion ol the leadenhip rants lines early Wtl peeacntedim. Death and retiread reduced the Politburo1m alien liie tracehe Secretarial, reipnntlblc for day-to-dayof the party apewrilai. waiallei lhan it had been ditriet OrcitMwv'a latterwl only three of illmberionuanm CbeenrnVo. and Mikhail Corbach(v| held Politburo (ink ,
1 - Chaofea
owever, clearly wn unable to talc full
f the oppoitunilk* oflei'd by this thin-
of the ranli The full membership of the I'oln buro wai not altered, and two pnawmod Andropov cheat* with poteotMl cli(ib>btr Ycaoc Uf actio and party toOclary Nilota>nmex up
Andionov. ncvenhcfeti. wai ablemh through aome personnel ihifti lhat Itrenglbcnod hii position I'l-iitiona clkntelc ia Ihc party apparalui. he adroitly pal forward leadenpolitical career* had lanftaiihod endn Breihaev. Thii lactic-
leeway la expand hii luppart wiih in the caiilin
leadership whrle adding only on* client to il.
Init clearly the moat liiaifieani shin.atty boss Grtgoriralready 1added to the Secretarial While theretiiitwcink ist careers ofengreater niibility in Ihc ieaderihip hat coincided withiik to the top. In April. Knmanov wai given the oisportuniiy tocttga lion to Finland and. beneliline from Chemenko'i illiuu.ony delegation to the Karl mart eekhtn>oa in Berlin.
Ihn alliance it ssolitically ripcdient lor both men.
Romano>'t Careee had Halted in Lcmnf tad for 11
ii Handing amongInner Circle
damaged by personal indUctctiom. Ilia pfcaaing need forpatronove Un lo toe political center coincided wilt)esire to increaie hit fleii-tiilily and influence In the Secretariat
purely political eakulationa. Andropovwis attracted byonovalive manareri-al ityle. inioletanc* tor diuident activity, and itreu cai worker diteipJine. la aa era when (be Soviet
Unionconomic proaJcirui can no lonfCf be acatved
merely by irsercatiang iraenianeni, Romanovlend ofand technological approaches thai could have'a Lin, In Lcnlntrnd. be hit been instrumentalpromoting new approscbetlanning and mtnafemcnl. auch ai "aocislplan* and production aitocaataoni. thai have been adoptedational tcale. A* Leningrad Obtaiienter of ilifcruw Induitrye USSR, Romanov presumably hn raprrtite In ihii area a* well. He alio hai championed Ihe application of advanced technologic* to Increase industrialan approach Andropov endorsed once again in hi* plenum speech
Traditionally, control tocr ifc< paity Secretariat hai been essentialew palyfforts to establish his peeemititeee laPolitburo- With
Romanov in Ihe Secretarial and the apparent attiince
Andiojov hai formed wiih Gorbachev, (be party secretary and Politburo nsesnber responsible forthe General Secretary'* Influence over tbe Secretariat hai been lubttantiilly enhanced. Within
the Secretarial. Gorbachev haa apparently been given
responsibility for vcr*onneleprciided over the installation of the RSFSR Premier and the new Leningrad party chief. Romanov icenu likely to assume overall reaponilbtliiy for heavy industry, tup. planting candidate Politburo member Vladimir Dolgikh. whose rctationthlowilh Andropov it not gaodC
Dy tranifeering Rgmav to the Secretarial. Andropov may haveisolated Cbemcnko.
lie it sow one of foul Politburo member! whoserve in the Secretarial, and Andropov seems to haveortfolio to ideology. Wtileelivery ot the plenum'i keynote addriu on ideology confirmed hit iahelilancc of at lead pan
Central Commit lee mandate la clean(heleft by
Vorutnakov ul the loo* for ha aeiKortuptioa corn paiga in Krasnodar on bin arrival b? nuking hisi secretary payaviib wrlatmlna parly.
Thii reputation for incorruptibility apparently al-iraclodttcnllon
Voiotnikov alM bring* lo hia print poalilon eaten-
liveIn induitriil party minaicmcnl. In
Ihebe wai Aril lecratary of the
Voronezh Obi* ti Party Com nue contributed aa
articlerominent party journal that called for
economic irtpuu from apeeaihiu. more bu
m utilise accountability, and incrcaiodideal lhat aecm in accord wiih Andropov's.
The promotion! of aeverat officials from candidate to lull membership ia the Central Commit lee appealed lohe miliiiry and underscore Uitioov'aand importance as an Andropov ally. Those advanced Included First Deputy Chief of Ihe Ccncnl Staff Sergey Akhromcycv, who wai promoted lo Marshal of the Soviet Union cirlier this year; Deputy Defense Minister Vitally Shaba no*.known Uatlno* protege, and Minister of the Machine Tool and Tool Build in* Industry Bonaongtime defense
The plinum also iirenglhenod Andiupov'aoost inf hii presiiga and ackrto*>lcdflng him a* the preeminent leader withine now has the ofTiout Ira Brezhnev look yeancquire His rival Chcrnenko evenim is "heutl" of (he Politburo-laudit Breahrtc* did not receive until nine year* after he became partyweeks following Ihe plenum have provided further confirmation of Andropov's itandini in ibe leader* hip:
Participant* in tlx June/July regional parly meet-inn were cffuilve In their praise for Andropov'* elevation to the presidency.
- Andropo-'i plcaam ipeeeh wa* toaaeiteatly citod a* pros i1 -utdanoe for the rcspoailnd KommuMn publiahod it ahead of Chernenko'a re. pari, even though the lalter wai presented Ural.
Theecn largely abandoned Regional piny leaden ipodfically referndropo*'i itaicmcnti and ipoeehes ia guides foe
(beir own action*
Although tbe above examples lead lo confirm Andiopov'i auihoriiy. ii ii not ycl dear whether Ibe General Secretary can Iranalatc thia into effective political power. Andropov fan yet to develop auffietent luppoei in Ihe Politburo lo alter iu politicaleither by piomotine luppoeieri or removiac oppo-nenta Despite acciil vacancies, theull
membenbip wai not changed at theom'
promise that Andiopov may have had to accept for
he (lint lie did achieve. Thef debate On
economic policy in the pleas and the tentativeevident in proposing new economic policiciAnoropi" baa encountered tome oppcaition in ma Vine change* in thii area as well.
The cap between Andropov') political authority and hia politic*ito effect policy chanBcs isrcfUcio' C
eluimexl thai tbe lack of ilroni support within the Pohthuio would not prevent Andropov from assumini theut bad foiccd htm lo bach down from pi annul polity initiatives. The ability to overcome thii policy hurdle may hinge on Andropov's power lo'oloBuio more lo hii liking. For now.
political diviaioo* within the top leader*hip rensaia. particularlyrcgirda oconomlcnd Andropov apparently doc* not yetotidbehind him. '
Prior to Ihc plenum, both Defense MinisterForeign Minuter Gromyko wereAisdropovn
addition, the promotion of Romanov and theof reipomlbitiiie* for Gorbachev linccparty leader auggeat that these two men.for the present, have joined bis camp. ThePoliiburooweser. hive beenas uncommitted or op-
pased to Andropov. Tbe Utter category includes fjieihnev loyalists Cfacrocnko. Premier Nikotay Tik-honov, ind Kiukh party chief Dtnmukhuitd Kunayev.
Andropovs Speech *
Andropov's plenum ipeech buttressed the impression that be lick* cooiiitent majority lupport on tbe Politburo ind aueteiti (hit he either doe* not feel conlidcni of hi* ability to get the desired mcaiorc* adopted ot has not yet fully formulated hi) itratecy. Tbe ipeecb. which focused on long-discussed reviiioni in Ihc party program, wai couched in broad,termi and did not unveil any major new
protmms or significant policy departure*.
Throughout his speech Andropov cmpbaiiud the need to Iniptove Ihe economic mechanism, nitcand enforce Ihein principle "to each (oxndinc tn hiiet he filled to make any concrete proposal)mptovc tbeon. noting thai "we have not yel itudiod properly the loeiety in -hichndould-be economic refotm-ei* piobably can lake ujme satisfaction, however, from Andiimo*luluie to rule oatpecifie approaches to studying economic problemt.
Aodropo> offered two itrilcciesaise laborhich lie described ai "the key talk in ihc economicincreased utitiiation of tech-
nototf and an ineieaiod rcllinceon taboe diicipline
With time, both Gorbachev ind Romanov- trt likely to emerge at contender* foroaillorlTTor now. their pretence in ibe Secret*rial dilute* Cher-cenkn't Influence- la addlUoa. they coald well become rtvala. thveaopmeni of aueh eoantenreujhu It ain Soviet politic*aa been uaed by Stalm. Khrnahohev. and Brcehncv. Such cocnpeiitloa could provide projection for Ajvdropov. iboold be booomc mora fnrblo. Andropov obvloualy Intend*leat eye on Romanov'towever, aaaecnu to have been liven cadre> The prewswc* of both Gorbachev aad Romano, ai but BDoath'a miiaUatioei of Romawova vwxetaor laaa we beJicva would not have or Ibaan effort lo keep Romanov In check.
For now Andropov remain* firmly In chant. If hi* health remain* liable, be aboald be aMe lo continue bit political protTeaa, eonaolleatlna ropport for hi* politic* *nd placini allica in key pcnonncl ilota. Miaonditiona. however, ttal the neat loooraalon horn* in the back|round of all polillcal
imp" ir iperception* of hi* health problem* by ihe rtiling title could bocoovetourer of political
aocr at the pUaumood ofarr:
the lathcnni taderauiderabk -cauip amonf Ihc pantclpnnti If Andropov corneae viewed aa an Interlin leader becauac of tbU. be might find it difficult lo generau luppon for controvernal economic inlitaiivnt or ncccuary change* In Politburo member* hi r>
Moreover.ealib and the political maoej-
youncci leader* *ocb aa Gofhacbcv aad Romano- aliolucceaoon roiuiiuoviet ri>rr Raunanov now Jo.ni Ihc acletl club of full Politburo member* who are alao
Central Committee aeeitianci (Andiopov.andlorbachev) ind from wboae ranka the General Secretary ha* traditionally been chotenOriginal document.